Godswill Akpabio, the Governor of Akwa Ibom, said yesterday 5th November 2013, that plans to secure the state capital from flood disasters are being looked at, but the costs to address the problem and end flooding in Uyo, the state capital, could be as high as N500bn.
The Governor apologised to the victims of the recent floods and said that work is continuing on an underground drainage system in central locations of the city to help alleviate the problem. Uyo currently has around 2.7km of underground drainage system pipeline, which has been constructed by Julius Berger Nigeria. It is it is supposed to have the capacity to protect about a 1.5 million square metre area of the city. Despite much of the project being completed around 18 months ago, it seems that further work is required on the drainage system as not all parts of the city are covered by it.
Mr Akpabio said that a committee is to be set up to help ameliorate the plight of local people. He called for patience but tried to assure residents that his government would take concrete measures to address the threat of flooding before 2014 rainy season.
Uyo is situated on a flood plain and is extremely vulnerable to flooding. Severe floods struck as recently as 17th October 2013, where 100s of homes in the city were inundated. But this kind of flooding seems to happen every year. After the floods struck in October this year, a local resident said “in 2011, I lost all my property and started all over in 2012, I had the same experience, and now in 2013, it has happened again, yet the government will not even show concern.”
In the news interview yesterday, Mr Akpabio said,
“Uyo is a table land, so it will take us over N500bn to actually address the drainage problem in Uyo and bring it all to a conclusive end. But we are working on an underground drainage system for the Tropicana Centre, which will take us up to Aka-Nung Udoe-Ibesikpo road and also de-flood part of Abak road. That construction is ongoing and not yet completed.
“It was the same problem we used to have in Uruan Street before you get to Oron Road, where we used to have a river flooding the whole area. I assure you that in the next rainy season, that problem would be taken care of.
“But we shall not ignore the plight of the people. We have set up a committee, headed by the Special Adviser on Technical Matters, to look into the issue so that we will see how we can ameliorate the plight of the people. So maybe government is slow in its reaction there, but they cannot be forgotten.”